What Is An Effective Radio Advertising Schedule?

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Nov 21, 2023 by Mark Maier

We get asked that question all the time. The business that asks the question wants results, as a media property we want to make sure we can deliver those results so we begin by fitting the desired consumers with the audience of the Radio Stations. We match ideal customer age, gender, income levels, household size and configuration up against data of what is known about our audiences and make a recommendation of the station or stations that make a good fit.

The second part of that equation is making sure the offer is relevant and makes any consumer that is in the buying cycle for that good or service want to get off of the couch and take action and buy. We make sure the commercial features the unique selling proposition of that business along with their brand story...what makes them unique and why consumers should come now to buy as the business solves the consumers desire or problem. It can be mixed with humor, drama, theatrics, or even the ridiculous but it needs to highlight to consumers why they need to know and visit this business now.

The third element of effective scheduling is reach. Every station has reach or the number of listeners that tune in every week. Another term for that is cume and each station has a surveyed number of listeners that tune in to that, and sometimes several other radio stations during the course of a week. The time spent listening is something we pay special attention to, it means consumers are listening for hours a week and that helps us determine the efficiency of serving ads to the audience by how many times the audience turns over during the course of a day...the higher the turnover, the harder it is to serve an effective schedule affordably as the less time a consumer spends with a station, the less times they are likely to hear an ad and take action.

Frequency is the fourth element of the equation and that simply means how many ads you play a day, or for several days, or a period of a week or a month. The statistical desire is to reach 66% or our cume, or audience that listens to us each week, 3 times per week with commercials that have a strong offer or call to action to get them to react and do business with our clients. There are ways to measure that effectiveness by in-store surveys from the staff or with online attribution that we have introduced to this market. We note the times ads are scheduled with our software and when they play we monitor the google analytics data for 30 minutes to see what ad or ads on what stations create online activity. That’s important because over 80% of in-store sales start with online research.

What’s the magic number? For most stations, the Cumulus and Westwood One research project from just 2 years ago states that a medium schedule that reaches 66 percent of the audience 3 or more times equals 49 commercials, on average. The 4 factors above have an impact on those numbers but we create optimum effective schedule commercial packages that air 50 times a week on-air and 50 times a week online in streaming and our clients are getting the traffic and business they need to call their spend effective. Here is what the chart looks like for different formats but remember, station turnover dramatically impacts these numbers. For example, if you have a station with lower turnover than the national average for CHR or Top 40 stations, do the math and know your numbers by station....

I have mentioned effective schedules reach 66% of the audience, that’s a medium schedule. So what happens when you use a heavy schedule? Here is the quote from this study on how that impacts results or lift that we see in something like our online attribution results from Rumple...